In my country researchers are overburdened with paperwork and are struggling with increasingly overwhelming bureaucracy while being underpaid. This all leaves them not much time for actual research and demotivates them. What is the best way to make impact against such trend? When I discussed such issues with my colleagues they all seemed depressed and pessimistic. They can't imagine any kind of protest and noone believes in succesfull lobbying since science isn't "politically attractive". All other social groups (from teachers to medical doctors and from miners to farmers) are able to protest. Why can't we?

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    Why can't we? Did you go to those people who said "No"? If yes, what's the reason they said "no"? Legal issue? Or something else?
    – Nobody
    Oct 15, 2015 at 4:45
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    This situation sounds familiar. It is one of the reasons why I left my country. Answering why science can't effectively lobby, scientists don't produce an immediate return, so if you strike, no one is going to notice for a long time.
    – Davidmh
    Oct 15, 2015 at 6:22
  • @scaaahu I talked with them face to face and the reason they said "no" is not legal. Constitutionally we have the right to protest. We even don't have an oppressive government. Noone wants to protest because "noone would even notice. What do you want to do, to make people notice scientific strike? That's ridiculous!". Anyway everyone just seems to be pessimistic and powerless.
    – user46147
    Oct 16, 2015 at 20:17
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    "Bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of an expanding bureaucracy." — Ian Parberry
    – JeffE
    Jul 12, 2016 at 13:47

2 Answers 2


This is a very old question. People in my country are also insane and love their bureaucracy. What I learned is that they are also deadly afraid their paperwork won't be done right. So, I started to get the people at the offices to do my paperwork for me. It is their job anyway.

When I got first into my job, my first idea was to gather enough support from my colleagues to mount a strong protest. I heard, but I can't find a link, that Polish researchers got fired the staff of their state grant agency after complaining how those guys hinder them. It is not possible in my country, and it may not be possible in yours. So, in my experience, the best way is to totally neglect paperwork except for what is essential: travel-related and buying equipment for research. Then, your bureaucrats will come begging for signatures and you train them like that. If you get chewed on by your boss, you can just reply that you "forgot", you are "very sorry", etc.

In any case, giving up the notion that you'll ever do competitive research in a system like that might help, but I didn't succeed at that myself.


Movements for social change are often driven by young people. See if you can make some alliances and connections with student groups about some of their concerns.

I'd be interested to know more about the tedious paperwork that is required. Maybe there are some creative ways to cut down on the time needed for the paperwork.

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